Thursday 31 December 2020

Goodreads: Year in Books Meme 2020

This is my journey in books for 2020!
I read 32,440 pages over 114 books 


Longest book
Colombiano by Rusty Young 
Shortest Book
The Lazy Rabbit by Wilkie J. Martin

Average book length in 2020 was 284 pages 
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
 Most Popular
 people also shelved                                                                     

Broker Brother Fireworks by Mick Murray
Least Popular
0 people
also shelved
My average rating for 2020 was
My favourite book of 2020 was
The year in books meme is hosted by Bite Into Books so head over and see her post. Why not join in and post a link to your year in books.   
I think 2020 was a difficult year for all of us and if I had to think of a bright side it would be that I managed to get extra reading time whilst we were all in lockdown.
I'm looking forward to more great books, reviews, giveaways, memes and bookish tags during 2021.
I big thanks to everyone who supported my blog, my subscribers, readers, those that left a comment and the wonderful publishers and authors who supply the books for reviews and giveaways.


Wednesday 30 December 2020

Wrap up of my 2020 challenges - let's see how I went!

 It's that time of year when we look back over our challenge pledges and see how we went.

You can read my 2020 sign up post HERE
My first one was the Book Lover Book Review Aussie Author Challenge 
I signed up for Kangaroo level:
4 x female authors, 4 x Male authors, 4 x New to me authors, 3 x genres.
But I really had my eye on attaining the Emu level:
10 x female authors, 10 x Male authors, 10 x New to me authors, 4 x genres.
My completed challenge was:
49 x Female authors, 16 x Male authors, 38 x New to me authors, 8 x Genres. With a total of 65 books read.
I was keen to increase my male Aussie authors this year and I managed to increase my total from 5 in 2019 to 16 in 2020.
You can see the full list of books HERE  
Next up was the Australian Women Writers Challenge.  
I nominated to read and review 30 books for this challenge.
My completed challenge was 49 books read and reviewed.

You can see the full list of books HERE
This was my second year of the Book Bingo challenge hosted by Theresa Smith Writes , Mrs B’s Book Reviews and The Book Muse.
2020 saw us with a smaller card relieving the pressure of completing a book each fortnight.
You can see the books I chose for this challenge HERE
 A new challenge for me was the Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Book'd Out
Not being a big NonFiction reader a joined the challenge at Nipper level.
Read 3 books from any of the 12 categories.
I ended up reading 11 books which covered 8 of the categories. I am sure this challenge helped me to read more from the NonFiction genre. So a big thanks to Shellyrae.
You can see the books and categories I read HERE 
Another new challenge for me in 2020 was the Historical Fiction challenge hosted by Passages to the Past.
There were 6 levels and I joined Victorian Reader level

20th Century Reader - 2 books
Victorian Reader - 5 books
Renaissance Reader - 10 books
Medieval - 15 books
Ancient History - 25 books
Prehistoric - 50+ books
I managed to attain Renaissance reader level by reading 14 books.
You can see the full list of books HERE 
My last official challenge is another bingo challenge with Facebook group Books and Bites with Monique Mulligan
 This bingo challenge was quite hard and had very specific categories. I managed to read 18 of the 25 squares.
You can see the full list of books HERE 
A few other challenges I entered were:
Dymocks Reading Challenge 2020 in which I completed 23 of the 25 categories.
The Aussie Readers group on Goodreads had an A - Z character challenge which I completed all 26 letters. 

Life of a Book Addict group on Goodreads had a Motley Reading challenge with 26 categories I managed to complete 23 of the 26. 

Well that's a wrap for 2020. Some challenges I will be sticking with in 2021 and some I will be dropping but I am sure I will pick up a couple more.
Look out for my 2021 challenge sign up post coming soon!
#AussieAuthor2020   #AWW2020  #HistFic2020 #2020ReadNonFic #BookBingo2020  

Tuesday 29 December 2020

In 2020.....My Life in Books



I recently saw this book tag created by Shellyrae @ Book'd Out and thought it would be fun to join in. 

The idea is to complete each prompt with a book that you have read in 2020.


2020 was the year of: The Year That Changed Everything 

In 2020 I wanted to be: The Good Teacher

In 2020 I was: The Wreck

In 2020 I gained: Just One Wish

In 2020 I lost: Six Minutes

In 2020 I loved: Mum & Dad

In 2020 I hated: The Boundary Fence

In 2020 I learned: Nothing Good Happens After Midnight 

In 2020 I was surprised by:  The Night Whistler

In 2020 I went to: The Farm at Peppertree Crossing

In 2020 I missed out on: The Grand Tour

In 2020 my family were: Together by Christmas

in 2021 I hope for: Better Luck Next Time 

If you think this looks like a fun tag why not check out Shellyrae's post here and join in with your own bookish answers. 


Monday 28 December 2020

Book Review: Dark Tides by Philippa Gregory

Dark Tides
Philippa Gregory

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Publication date: 24th November 2020
Series: The Fairmile #2
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 472
Format read: paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher
About the book
Midsummer Eve 1670. Two unexpected visitors arrive at a shabby warehouse on the south side of the River Thames. The first is a wealthy man hoping to find the lover he deserted twenty-one years before. James Avery has everything to offer, including the favour of the newly restored King Charles II, and he believes that the warehouse's poor owner Alinor has the one thing his money cannot buy—his son and heir.

The second visitor is a beautiful widow from Venice in deepest mourning. She claims Alinor as her mother-in-law and has come to tell Alinor that her son Rob has drowned in the dark tides of the Venice lagoon.

Alinor writes to her brother Ned, newly arrived in faraway New England and trying to make a life between the worlds of the English newcomers and the American Indians as they move toward inevitable war. Alinor tells him that she knows—without doubt—that her son is alive and the widow is an imposter.

Set in the poverty and glamour of Restoration London, in the golden streets of Venice, and on the tensely contested frontier of early America, this is a novel of greed and desire: for love, for wealth, for a child, and for home
My review
Dark Tides is book 2 in The Fairmile series. Tidelands (book1) left us with two strong, determined women leaving Sealsea Island, heading to London to start a new life. I was excited to to see how Alinor and her daughter Alys would fair in this new adventure.
Dark Tides is set 21 years later. Alys has 21 year old twins, Sarah and Johnnie. Alys now runs a wharf on the poorer south-side of London whilst Alinor brings in money making packs of herbs and selling them. They are not rich but they get by and both Sarah and Johnnie have apprenticeships.
Alinor's brother Ned has also left the tidelands now that the new king is on the throne. He has decided to make a new life where he can be his own master in New England (USA).
There is no backstory to fill in the missing twenty odd years which makes Dark Tides read well as a standalone. 
The story moves back and forward between London and Hadley - New England. They are two completely different stories only occasionally connecting through Alinor and Ned's correspondence or when Ned sends herbs to Alinor in London.
With the introduction of Rob's widow Livia arriving from Venice, babe in arms, Philippa Gregory has given her readers an amazing antagonist. I loved how Livia worked, confident and conniving. Everyone was immediately smitten with her, completely under her spell. Well, almost everyone.  She was a perfectly drawn character, charismatic and manipulative, totally believable and I was enthralled as I watched her weave her web of lies and deceit. 
The story held plenty of suspense as the setting moves from London to Venice and my Fitbit will attest to the increase in my heart rate as the tension mounted.
I was equally invested in Ned's story, although not as compelling, I loved learning about the native Indians, the Pokanoket people, and their ways with the land. Ned was, as I expected, one with both the natives and the settlers. He was keen to learn the ways of the natives and their wisdom. I could clearly see Alinor with her herbs and natural healing would also be one with these people.
Gregory explains how these peaceful people were lied to, cheated and betrayed by the settlers and how they were not prepared to lose everything, including their way of life.
I loved Dark Tides (book 2) even more than the first book Tidelands. I have no idea where the story will go from here but I am eagerly awaiting book three in The Fairmile series. 
5/5  ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Meet the author
Photo: Goodreads
Philippa Gregory is one of the world’s foremost historical novelists. She wrote her first ever novel, Wideacre, when she was completing her PhD in eighteenth-century literature and it sold worldwide, heralding a new era for historical fiction.
Her flair for blending history and imagination developed into a signature style and Philippa went on to write many bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen.
Now a recognised authority on women’s history, Philippa graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent and was made Alumna of the Year in 2009. She holds honorary degrees from Teesside University and the University of Sussex. She is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff and an honorary research fellow at Birkbeck University of London.
Philippa is a member of the Society of Authors and in 2016, was presented with the Outstanding Contribution to Historical Fiction Award by the Historical Writers’ Association. In 2018, she was awarded an Honorary Platinum Award by Nielsen for achieving significant lifetime sales across her entire book output.

Challenges entered:   Historical Fiction Challenge  #2020HistFicReadingChallenge
My review of Tidelands

Sunday 27 December 2020

Spotlight & Giveaway: Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle by Krishna Sudhir, MD, PhD

Photo: Goodreads

Today I would like to welcome author Krishna Sudhir to The Burgeoning Bookshelf.

So let's get started and find out a little more about Dr Sudhir and his writing.
About the author

Krishna (Krishnankutty) Sudhir is a physician, cardiologist and educator. Born in Chennai, India, he has lived and worked in three countries, including India, Australia, and the United States. He is currently based in California’s Bay Area, where he is a senior executive in the medical device industry.

In his academic career, he has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at major Australian and American universities. He is passionate about educating the general public on health and medicine, and has authored several TED-Ed videos in the health care field. Sudhir has traveled extensively across Asia, Australia, Europe and North America, and is deeply interested in cultures, languages, and cuisines across the globe. He enjoys watching movies, listening to music, reading detective novels, and cooking Indian food. While well-published in the medical field as the author of over 180 publications, the Prince of Typgar series is his first foray into the world of fiction.

Congratulations on your latest novel, Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle! Tell us what the book is about.

This is the second in the Prince of Typgar series, a sequel to Nujran and the Monks of Meirar. The series is set in an alternate universe, an earth-like planet Syzegis in a distant galaxy. At the end of the first book, we leave Nujran as a teenager who has traveled with his teacher, Amsibh, experiencing romance, conflict, friendship, betrayal, and loss. We begin the second book on the campus of the University of Western Foalinaarc, where a body has just been discovered. Who is this girl, and why is she dead? Could it be linked to the mysterious illness sweeping across campus, affecting most of the teaching community? Why does Amsibh come to the school, and what does he need to protect Nujran from? Through what twist of fate is Nujran reunited with his old friends, the Monks of Meirar? And why does Nujran end up being a captive again?

Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle picks up where your last book, Nujran and the Monks of Meirar, left off, but it can also work as a stand-alone. Why did you decide to return to Nujran’s story and what will fans of your first novel be most excited by?

I felt there was more of Nujran’s story that needed to be told, and I wanted to have readers go along with him on all of his new adventures as he begins college. In this book, there’s drama in plenty with fugitives on the run, turbulence on the university campus, fresh intrigue, a new romance, a strange kidnapping, an escape from prison, and a rescue mission where things don’t quite go as planned. In short, this sequel is another fast-paced adventure that will hold readers spellbound!

What makes your books stand out from other young adult fantasy novels?

The most unique aspect is that this book is written from an Indian-American voice, that pulls from stories of kings, queens and princes in Indian mythology to create modern fantasy fiction. There are not many YA novels that originate from Indian thinking and tradition, so I was happy to bring that to readers. Plus, it’s set on another planet in a distant galaxy, with elements of not just sci-fi and fantasy but also magical realism, making it a captivating blend of multiple young adult genres. An alternate universe, with multi-ethnic characters, many with unusual abilities, will likely attract fans of the Marvel and DC entertainment films and comic books. Plus, I hope young readers from Indian and other immigrant backgrounds who don’t see their culture widely represented in YA novels will enjoy that aspect as well.

Why did you decide to feature multi-ethnic culture and Indian mythology in your novels?

We are a multi-racial, multi-ethnic country, but we don’t have enough minority voices in literature. As an Indian-American writer, I bring a unique perspective to storytelling, drawing from my love of Indian mythology, the Arabian Nights and other epic literature in the diversity space. I am honored to be able to bring these to young readers of all cultures, and I hope they can not only enjoy the stories, but learn something about other cultures – or even their own – along the way.

You are a cardiologist and a professor – what made you want to write YA novels?

The ideas for the books came from multiple directions. Raising two boys (who are now almost 26 and 24), I read a lot of young adult fiction. We perused the Harry Potter novels together, a delightful shared experience. When they were younger, I learned to spin a lot of yarns, mainly as bedtime stories. And going further back in time, there was my own childhood and early adult fascination with the Indian epics—magnificent tales of princes and warriors woven into stories.

With your medical and teaching career, in addition to being a parent, when do you find the time to write? 

I love this question because it has a fun answer! Before COVID, I traveled often for my job. The entire first novel in the Prince of Typgar series was written on United Airlines airplanes. Most of Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle was as well, before quarantine kept me home for the tail end of the process. The cabin of an airplane is an unusual, but perfect place to lose yourself in a new universe through writing!


What’s next for you? Will you be writing another book in the Prince of Typgar series, or something fresh?

The series is planned as a trilogy, so there’s one more novel after this one. That final one will be the culmination of the story. Nujran’s adventures will continue, you can be sure there will be more intrigue and conflict, and hopefully my readers will stay with me through the end of the series.


(Enter via the form below)

Smith Publicity are offering an eBook giveaway of the first two books in the trilogy 


Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Monks of Meirar
Set on the planet Syzegis, in a distant galaxy, Nujran is the spoiled pre-teen son of King Rababi and Queen Roone in the kingdom of Typgar. Enter Maestro Amsibh, a gifted teacher with extraordinary qualities, and the prince’s transformation begins.
But, why does he have to leave his sheltered life at the palace and his gorgeous friend Zaarica, with the maestro and two bodyguards? Who are the mysterious Monks of Meirar, and what strange powers do they possess? What motivates Hoanan, the villainous politician, who wants to unseat the king and usurp the throne? And amidst all the turbulence in Typgar, can Nujran find his way back home?
With numerous plot twists and turns, the reader will be transported on a fast-paced adventure with our young prince, where he encounters romance and conflict, friendship and betrayal, while building strength and character through his experiences in the real world.
Prince of Typgar: Nujran and the Corpse in the Quadrangle
This is the second in the Prince of Typgar series, the much-anticipated sequel to Nujran and the Monks of Meirar. At the end of the first book, we left Nujran as a teenager who has learned much through his journeys alongside his teacher Amsibh. He experienced romance, conflict, friendship, betrayal, and loss. He grew up along the way.
We begin the second book on the sprawling campus of the prestigious University of Western Foalinaarc, where a body has just been discovered. Who is this girl, and why is she dead? Could it be linked to the mysterious illness sweeping the campus and plaguing the teaching community? Why does Amsibh come to the school, and what does he need to protect Nujran from? Through what twist of fate is Nujran reunited with his old friends, the Monks of Meirar? And why does Nujran end up being a captive again?
The stakes are higher than ever before, with fugitives on the run, turbulence on the university campus, a new romance, a bizarre kidnapping, a perilous escape from prison, and a rescue mission where things don’t quite go as planned. Corpse in the Quadrangle is another fast-paced adventure that will hold young readers spellbound!
This giveaway is now closed and the winner was ..... Karen S

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Book Club Book Review: Something Like This by Karly Lane

Something Like This
Karly Lane


Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication date: 1st December 2020
Genre: Rural Romance
Pages: 340
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via  Beauty & Lace Book Club
About the book 
Jason Weaver just wants to be left alone. It was a tough transition from his army days to civilian life, and he's looking forward to settling into a solitary life.

Tilly Hollis is working two jobs to save for her dream career: running an equine therapy program. Tilly loves her horses more than anything, and after losing her husband and business partner just a few years earlier, she's determined to make it work on her own.

When Jason walks into the cafe where Tilly works, they're immediately drawn to one another. But can they overcome their pasts to find a future together?
My review
Best selling Australian author Karly Lane’s latest offering in the Rural Romance genre, Something Like This, combines Karly’s love of romance with her love of horses to give her readers yet another unmissable rural romance story.

Anyone who has read a Karly Lane novel will know her two biggest loves are horses and romance and Something Like This combines both loves. Even if your not a horsey person (which I’m not) you will love Tilly and Jason’s story. It is more than just horses it is a story of pain, loss, suffering and the power of love.

Through Healing Hooves Horse Therapy, Tilly brings together a group of troubled teens, on their last chance, and a few wild brumbies saved from culling. The teens are taught to work with the horses and I’m not sure who was taming who but both boys and horses are offered a new chance at life. It was moving to watch these reluctant teens open up and Tilly’s life long dream come to fruition.

Jason Weaver was planning a quiet life fixing up the old house he had purchased. His time fighting in Afghanistan had left physical and emotional scars and Ben Tirran seemed the perfect place to send time alone. That is until he drops into the local cafe and meets Tilly. Now he can’t keep her out of his mind.

Jason is such a likeable character, even when he was being grumpy and disagreeable. I immediately warmed to him and Lane has a remarkable way of invoking empathy in her readers for even the most moody and socially disagreeable of characters.

Tilly is awesome. She has had tragedy after tragedy thrown at her and yet she was vibrant, determined and strong. What an inspiration! Her story will break your heart.

Jason and Tilly were complete opposites neither really into what the other liked but their personalities complemented each other and they were both willing to compromise which I thought was a realistic founding for a relationship.

Horses form a large part of the story in Something Like This and even as a non horse lover I was fascinated by the idea of capturing and taming wild brumbies rather than culling. Lane’s Knowledge and love for these wild horses is evident.

In Something Like This Karly Lane explores the healing power of animals. I have heard of pet therapy where dogs are taken to hospitals, nursing homes and schools but introducing horses as therapy was new to me. Other areas explored were small town gossip, genetic diseases, mental health of people with a disability, communities helping each other and working towards a dream.

Karly Lane is firmly on my must read list.

5/5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ plus that extra ⭐ for a character named Veronica 💖 (even if she was a mean girl).

Meet the author

Photo: Goodreads
Karly Lane lives on the mid north coast of New South Wales. Proud mum to four children and wife to one very patient mechanic, she is lucky enough to spend her day doing the two things she loves most - being a mum and writing stories set in beautiful rural Australia.


This review first appeared on the Beauty and Lace website.
Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020
Other books I've read by Karly Lane

Tallowood Bound by Karly LaneSix Ways to Sunday by Karly Lane